Here is an excerpt from the book I’m working on, the book I hope to have completed by the upcoming fall. Still working on a suitable title. As you’ll see, the topic is slightly different than “A Matter of Semantics”, but touches one that I am equally passionate about — preventing sexual violence and violence against women. I’d love to hear/read/see your thoughts on this small excerpt! Enjoy! AS
The high school cafeteria resembled a failed harmonious attempt at the United Nations. The handful of Black kids sat at one table. The Asian students were at another table. The students of Latin heritage – no matter if they were Puerto Rican, Dominican, or Guatemalan – took their seat at yet another table. Everyone else, that is, the White students filled the rest of the tables in the cafeteria, but even they divided themselves by wealth, intellect, popularity, athletes, and Emo statutes. Despite the principal’s attempt to erase the color barriers between the students – bringing in a diversity speaker, scheduling multi-cultural awareness programs – the students reverted back to their comfort zones the first chance they got, like an old habit that just wouldn’t go away.
A rhythmic melody hung in the air, the students’ conversations rose way above the level of chit-chatter. The girls’ voices were high-pitched. The guys’ voices did their best to boom with machismo. Combined, they girls’ and boys’ voices more than just loud, they were deafening.
Lauryn sat at the edge of a Goth table, by herself. She had chopped her hair and ditched her contacts for a pair of dorky glasses she sported her freshman year. She traded in her usual attire of spaghetti-strapped tank tops, leggings, and thigh-high boots for oversized hoodies, ripped jeans, and Chuck Taylor’s. She nibbled her sandwich, just hoping not be seen. She looked around the cafeteria, where the students moved from the lunch line to the tables, from the tables to the trash cans, and from the trash cans back to the tables, like clockwork. Lauryn stared blankly at the walls, hoping they would reveal some magical answer. Classmates and former friends came and went from her line of sight, and she didn’t even blink. Like she was there physically, but psychologically, she had been in another state.
“Yeah Dave,” a loud voice shouted, snapping Lauryn from zoning out. She looked towards the cafeteria door, and saw Dave Marino walking inside. He smiled and nodded to a table full of guys, behind Lauryn. She cringed and buried her head, hoping he wouldn’t see her. Tears filled her eyes and she started to tremble. She felt Dave’s presence hovering over her, like he was an omniscient force. It felt as if an hour had passed, and her throat felt as if it was closing. The water had run through her, and she sprang from her seat. When she stood, she found Dave standing in the same spot, smiling. At her, and no one else. It was almost as if he were thinking, you know, that I know, that you know that I know, that you are a fucking slut.
Lauryn stormed out of the cafeteria, and pushed past Dave, fighting back the tears. She turned a corner and spilled into the girls’ bathroom. She pushed on the bathroom stall doors until one finally opened. She threw herself inside, fell to knees, and vomited.